The 5 pillars of a public health degree

Public health
Pillars that promote public health. Source: Lucas Vasques/Unsplash

A sector surging with research revelations and future-focused practitioners, public health has always been a go-to discipline for compassionate and driven individuals.

Every day, an innovation in the public health sector surfaces, demonstrating humankind’s determination to develop solutions that improve health outcomes for global communities.

Combining curiosity and skill, public health degrees don’t just bring impressive career outcomes, it also creates leaders of change who are committed to fairness and the belief that everyone has the right and ability to achieve and maintain good health.

public health

Why are these pillars integral to public health degrees? Source: Les Triconautes/Unsplash

What are the five pillars of public health?

Before diving straight into a public health degree, it’s a good idea to update your knowledge of the five pillars that contribute to the field’s efficiency.

1. Epidemiology

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events (including disease), and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems.”

Investigating the factors that determine the absence or presence of diseases or disorders, this pillar helps you understand how many people are affected by particular diseases and disorders and if those numbers are changing.

Typically, epidemiological studies prove to be effective in monitoring global issues and widespread dilemmas. However, the definition of a disorder tends to change over time, making estimates and studies more difficult.

2. Environmental Health

Public health is known for diving into the environmental factors that impact people’s health and the healthcare they receive, working towards finding global solutions to the challenges that are limiting people’s well-being, quality of life or lifespan.

A common buzzword in conversations around climate change, public health practitioners play a pivotal role in adapting strategies to cater to changing environments.

For instance, the act of air pollution worsening childrens’ mental health, or the fear of microplastics ending up in our daily meals, environmental health is a key branch of any public health degree.

public health

Environmental health and public health go hand-in-hand. Source: Shutterstock

3. Health administration

Overseeing, leading and administering the operation of healthcare entities such as nursing homes, health insurance providers, pharmacies and healthcare systems, health administration requires public health professionals to be adaptable and ethical quick-thinkers.

Involving both daily and long-term decisions that reflect the healthcare system’s business strategies, it’s a rewarding yet strategic branch of the global public health sector.

4. Biostatics

According to the Colorado School of Public Health, “Biostatistics provides the essential analytical methods necessary for public health and medical research. Biostatisticians formulate scientific questions, plan and evaluate study designs, collect and interpret data, and manage procedures.  Through a combination of statistics, probability, mathematics and computing skills, biostatisticians are a necessary component to all biomedical research.”

Needed to develop statistical methods for clinical trials, observational studies, longitudinal studies and genomics, biostatisticians ensure that research is on a solid statistical footing while improving health and reducing illness.

5. Health promotion and education

The final pillar of a public health degree, health promotion and education relates to enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants.

Asking questions such as “Why do some people eat and exercise well, while others don’t”; it’s an inquisitive part of the public health puzzle.

By promoting good health and educating others on ideal health practices, you’ll be working towards a better future for all.

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